SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. - A local bottlenose dolphin turned up dead over the weekend near Venice, and Mote Marine Lab scientists blame a fishing hook and line.
The 27-year-old female dolphin, part of a year-round resident population, was found in Venice Inlet on Saturday by a Sarasota County Sheriff’s officer. Mote staff recovered the carcass and brought it to Mote’s Sarasota facility for examination.
Scientists found fishing line wrapped around the animal's goosebeak, which is a tube that connects the blowhole to the lungs, basically strangling the dolphin.
Scientists say the dolphin’s death is a somber reminder to keep waterways clear of fishing line and other trash.
The dolphin, identified as FB93, appeared to be in good condition and had a belly full of fish. She had been documented to have given birth to six calves in her lifetime, two of which still live in Sarasota Bay. Her most recent calf was born in June and is presumed dead with the loss of her mother.
To learn how to view dolphins safely in the wild, you can download dolphin-friendly viewing and fishing tips at www.mote.org/dolphinfriendly.